Chaebol heads meet Xi at 2018 Boao Forum

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Chaebol heads meet Xi at 2018 Boao Forum


Korean business tycoons met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday in a closed round-table session during the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference held in Hainan Province.

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and Samsung Electronics Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun were present in the meeting, representing chaebol chairmen, the two companies confirmed. From Hanwha Group, Kim Dong-won, chief innovation officer of Hanwha Life Insurance and second son of the group’s Chairman Kim Seung-youn, took part in the closed session.

Some 50 business leaders from different countries were invited to the meeting with President Xi, according to Hanwha. Among Chinese leaders, Jack Ma, head of giant retailer Alibaba, was also reported to have been present. It is the first time in three years that Xi has participated in the forum, often nicknamed the Asian Davos. During the opening speech for the four-day forum that began Sunday, the Chinese leader said that Beijing will lower trade barriers and further open up its economy.

Xi’s meeting with business leaders from Asia is likely to be related to his earlier remarks and the main theme of the forum, “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity,” though no details were disclosed.

According to Kim, Xi emphasized the need for innovation based on fair competition and cooperation between multiple parties. Before the closed meeting, Chey participated in a morning session on Monday to discuss a new mandate for business in a time of transformation. Chey stressed that social value has become more important for companies.

“Apart from creating economic value for shareholders and customers, companies now need to create social value for different stakeholders like the public, consumer rights groups and the government to keep stable growth,” Chey said during the session. Chey has been touting his social value message throughout this year.

Hanwha Group held a blockchain round table with 15 experts from 10 countries including Korea, China, Japan, the United States and Germany on Wednesday morning and discussed the value and growth potential of the blockchain industry.

Samsung Electronics’ Kwon was elected to the 19-member board of directors of the forum on Monday.

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